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Friday, June 15, 2012

Bite-Size Review: Open Door Policy - Singapore

Request for a table under the sunroof
Got into Singapore and called up Anton, my former PR protege and proud papa of Frenchies Lulu and Fifi, to recommend a new place for Sunday Brunch.  Without missing a beat, he insisted we go to Open Door Policy

Not that I didn't trust his judgement or anything, but I hadn't been back to the Lion City in awhile and I'd not heard of this joint - in Tiong Bahru, the land of chee kuehs and wet markets, no less - so I had to look it up. 

This little nugget that's within browsing distance of Books Actually has a menu by Tippling Club's executive chef Ryan Clift, and describes its own concept as "modern bistro fare with a rustic twist."  That alone told me jack, mainly because I'd made a tidy living from sprouting and rearranging the same tired restaurant cliches to form other variations of the same tired restaurant cliches.  But then again, this is Anton.... the very knowledgeable food and beverage connoisseur Anton, fer cryin' out loud, who'd picked this place, so whatever misgivings I had about its spiel on its own website, I knew what I was going to experience that Sunday was going to be good.

And it was.

Here are some of the highlights from that brunch:
48-Hour Cooked Braised Beef Cheek with Mochi Potatoes, Carrot Puree and Snow Pea Tendrils
The braised beef cheek was worth the price of admission alone.  Tender, tasty, yum.  Other fast favourites were the halloumi cheese appetizer with olives and white anchovies, and the papaduck papadum with crusted duck fillers and mint yoghurt dip.
What we ate: That's my halloumi cheese appetizer in the middle 

Chocolate and Pistachio Souffle with Creme Anglaise
Order this the second you enter the bistro. 
Before you even check out the open kitchen or even set eyes on the drinks menu. 
If I have only one gripe, it's that this is one of those places that demands your credit card details upon reservation.  And if you're cancelling, better do it 24 hours or more earlier.  They will also give away your table if you're 15 minutes late.  And charge you $50 for being a no-show.  With the service charge included.  If you do manage to make it to the bistro, you've got to GTFO when you dawdle over your micro-lot coffee towards the two-hour mark. Truly, it is that popular but as someone who has time management issues and leans towards calling for impromptu brunch gatherings, that's a right pain in the papadum.  For now though, I have to admit that their chocolate and pistchio souffle alone is worth the hassle of rooting for that piece of plastic from my wallet, and investing in a solid alarm clock topped with a healthy sense of urgency. 

For now.

Open Door Policy - 19 Yong Siak Street (Yong Siak View), Singapore
Telephone: +65 6221 9307. 
Reservations highly recommended, and break out that credit card to hold your table.
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